Aaron Hockley awarded the OPPA President’s Award

As we move into 2015, I’m pleased to announce something that happened at the end of 2014.

As many folks know, I’m on the board of directors for the Oregon Professional Photographers Association. In mid-December I was announced as the recipient of the President’s Award for 2014, one of the highest honors presented by the organization.

The OPPA President’s Award is presented annually to an active member of the organization whose dedication and service benefits the organization, while being of service to the community and a photographer ambassador to the public.

Oregon Professional Photographers Association President's Award
OPPA 2014 President Mark Fitzgerald with President’s Award recipient Aaron Hockley

In a region brimming with photographers, I’m honored to have been presented this award and I look forward to another year of living photography. The Oregon Professional Photographers Association is a fantastic group filled with smart, creative individuals, and I can’t wait to continue working with the OPPA membership to provide fellowship, education, and development for photographers in our area.

photo by Andie Petkus

Presenting at New Media Expo

Not all of my photography business activities are in creating images for clients.

I also write, speak, and provide photography information to those in other industries. As I type this I’m in Las Vegas for New Media Expo, a gathering of a few thousand folks involved in new media marketing, internet business, podcasting, web video, and related fields.

Las Vegas at Night

This is my fourth time at New Media Expo and the third time I’ve been invited as a speaker. On Monday I’m giving a talk about photography for the web, with an eye to help bloggers learn a bit about photography basics and how to best share their photos online. Smart businessfolk are going to hire a professional photographer for business portraits, events, or other such activities, but there are a lot of day to day photos that get shared online, and I’m always interested in helping others improve. This year I’m co-presenting with Darlene Hildebrandt, an accomplished photographer from Edmonton.

This trip is representative of the fact that I’m up for a variety of photo-related work… sure, you can hire me to make a portrait or photograph an event, but if there’s another photography question or opportunity, don’t hesitate to contact me and let’s make it happen.

When Photography Equipment Fails

As we all know too well, eventually it seems like everything breaks. Whether we’re talking about a child’s toy, an automobile, or yes, photography gear, sometimes bad things happen.

Sometimes it’s just a bummer. But if you’re working with a photographer, sometimes it’s more than just a bummer. Sometimes those photos can’t be recreated, or the recreation would be extraordinarily expensive or impractical.

This is one of those areas where a responsible professional is going to trump that guy you hired for $50 off of Craigslist, or someone who offered to do it for free because hey, they just like photography and have a good-enough camera.

A professional photographer is going to plan for the unexpected. When I head out, whether it’s to a one-photo portrait session or a multi-day event, I never have a single camera body or a single lens. As you see me set up a light, know that I have a backup plan for if that light were to fail. Within my primary cameras I have two memory cards, configured not for additional capacity but for redundancy in case one of those cards failed. On a wider level, I have a network of other photographers who I can call upon were I to become sick or otherwise unavailable for a planned engagement, and I am always mindful of potential vendors were I to need emergency equipment acquisition in whatever city I’m working.

Part of what you get when you hire a professional is someone who has invested the time and money to ensure that you get the photos you deserve. While it’s impossible to predict every potential badness, there are a lot of things that can be prevented.

I’ve been fortunate that (knock on wood) I’ve only had a couple notable gear failures in recent memory, but I was reminded of this just a couple days ago when I had a problem that became a non-problem due to my preparation.

And because an article on my photography website ought to have a photo, here’s notable Portland jazz musician Mel Brown, photographed about a year ago at an event where I had an equipment problem… that never impacted the client at all.

Mel Brown - Jazz Drummer - Portland Event

Board Membership and a Certification

I’m pleased to share a couple professional bits of news…

Returning to the PMPA Board of Directors

PMPA LogoI’ve been invited to again serve as a member of the Board of Directors of the Portland Metropolitan Photographers Association. Affiliated with the Professional Photographers of America, the PMPA is a volunteer-led organization the seeks to foster the development of photographers of all sorts in the Portland area. The organization has made some great advances in 2013 and I’m honored they’ve asked me to serve in 2014. I’ll be heading up their communications efforts including managing the various forms of traditional and social media used for information.

Candidacy to Become a Certified Professional Photographer

I’ve also declared my candidacy to become a Certified Professional Photographer, the first step in what can be an up-to-two-year process for certification. Anyone can say they’re a photographer. Anyone can say they’re a professional. Fewer will join a professional organization. Even fewer still will seek certification.

In order to obtain the Certified Professional Photographer designation, I’ll first have to pass a rigorous written exam designed under the supervision of the Institute of Credentialing Excellence, the same folks that oversee certification for everything from Optometrists to Certified Financial Planners. The exam covers a wide variety of photography topics.

Following the written exam, I will be required to submit a portfolio of my work for inspection. Some of the material in the portfolio must demonstrate six specific photography and lighting techniques deemed necessary for all photographers. The remainder of the portfolio will showcase several example images from paid client work over the past two years. Professional photography judges will review the work and either accept or reject my portfolio. As noted, this process may take a while but I hope to work through it in the coming months, refining and demonstrating my skills as I continue to deliver quality, professional work for my clients.

Portland Event Reception Photography

I’ve photographed a variety of events, gatherings, parties, and receptions in the Portland and Vancouver, Washington area. Today I get around to publishing a few images from a reception a few months back.

Dancing at the Reception

Depending on the event, photography will include the attendees, environment, details, and the work of other vendors involved with the production.

Event / Reception Catering

I always enjoy being able to capture an artist or performer while in their element.

Reception Concert

If you want something beyond mere snapshots for your event, contact me and let’s make it happen.